If you're a regular visitor to Mercola Healthy Pets, you know how highly I recommend good dental hygiene for dogs and cats, including regular at-home dental care.
A recent study by a renowned animal health organization revealed two-thirds of pet owners don't provide the basic dental care recommended by their veterinarians.
I don't believe pet owners intentionally set out to ignore their pet's dental hygiene by not brushing... rather, I think they simply don't realize how important it can be...
Cleaning your pet's teeth is an essential part of dog or cat ownership. They can't do it themselves, so it's up to you to take responsibility and do it for them.
Now that you hopefully understand this issue, I have some good news that I'm certain will lighten your heart - and your load...
A Brilliant Advance in Pet Dental Care – A Boon for You Both
I've discovered - and have used in my clinic for years - an oral care solution that I'm extremely excited about. So far, I've seen tremendous benefits.
And did I mention it's easy for you to use?
Here's what may be the best news for many... you don't even have to brush your pet's teeth!
Of course, I recommend you brush for faster and better results, but it's not a necessity for those totally unwilling subjects...
Before I tell you more about this dental care solution, let's cover some basics and a few things you can start doing today to support your pet's oral cleanliness.
What's Behind Your Pet's Dental Hygiene
How fast your pet's teeth get dirty depends on several factors:
- Your pet's age and breed
- Genetic tendencies
- Your pet's diet (high-carbohydrate diets - or those containing rice, corn, wheat, tapioca, or potatoes - promote the need for more frequent dental cleaning)
- The amount of saliva your pet produces (the more the better)
You can make a difference in your pet's dental cleanliness. Here is the 5-pronged approach I recommend to every pet parent...
5 Steps to Keeping Your Pet's Mouth Clean
We talked about how carbohydrates can speed up the accumulation of dirt on your pet's teeth. Did you know there's a type of food you can feed your pet that actually helps clean their teeth?
One of the reasons I'm so passionate about feeding pets species-appropriate raw diets is this:
Raw food acts to help clean your pet's teeth!
Especially important for cats because they don't enjoy gnawing on chew bones like pups do -- raw meat and ground up bones mechanically grind against and help clean teeth.
What about dry kibble? Is it true that it helps clean teeth?
Contrary to what pet food manufacturers would like you to believe, kibble removes dirt from your pet's teeth about as effectively as granola cleans your teeth!
There are many reasons to feed your dog or cat a raw diet, and I consider it an important first step to help keep your pet's mouth clean.
Encourage Your Dog to Chew to His Heart's Content...
Raw meat, raw bony foods, and recreational bones are great tools for helping your dog clean his teeth.
But I must add a word of caution... Avoid cooked meat bones. Cooked bones can splinter and inflict serious injury to your pet's trachea and gastrointestinal tract.
If your dog has health issues, be sure to get your holistic vet's "okay" before feeding raw bones. And always supervise your dog when feeding any type of bone.
Know What's Going On Inside...
My third step for keeping your pet's mouth clean is to know what's happening inside...
Ideally, your pet should allow you to open his mouth and look inside.
If your pet isn't used to you touching or peering inside his mouth, start today to acquaint him with this important habit. Take it slowly and praise and reward him for his cooperation.
Once your dog or cat is comfortable with you touching his mouth, lift his lips and examine his gums and teeth. His teeth should be clean, without brownish stains.
Don't expect to see pearly whites in an adult dog or cat. Yellow staining is normal for pets that are no longer puppies and kittens. Even professional cleaning doesn't remove staining, unless a bleaching agent is applied.
Once you've inspected your pet's mouth a few times, you'll become familiar with his teeth and gums. Be sure to notice the smell of his breath and note any changes.
If you observe any of the following signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, preferably one who practices holistic medicine, as soon as possible:
- Bad breath (especially if you notice a change)
- Inflamed gums
- Excessive drooling
- Unusual lumps on the gums or under the tongue
- Loose or bleeding teeth
Enlist the Pros to Help
Step four is a critical one that I don't want you to skip...
Regardless of whether you are cleaning your pet's teeth at home, be sure to schedule regular oral exams with your veterinarian. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in your pet's mouth.
In some cases, a professional cleaning may be necessary. If your vet strongly recommends having it done, and it's safe for your pet, do it.
With a clean mouth - a clean slate, so to speak - you can vow to keep up with cleaning at home moving forward.
Annual dental exams, starting at one year of age for cats and small-breed dogs, and two years of age for large-breed dogs, are recommended for all pets.
What about "anesthesia-free" dental cleanings? I don't recommend them. These "cleanings" carry risks of injury to your pet and can't clean as deeply as traditional vet cleanings.
This new advance in dental care that I'm about to share with you in a couple of minutes, while not a replacement for professional oral exams, can potentially help keep your pet's teeth cleaner between professional cleanings.
Brushing - Still the Gold Standard for Your Pet's Oral Cleanliness
I believe step five is the most important step.... and that's to brush your pet's teeth.
I know I told you earlier that you didn't have to brush for this product to work.
Bear with me... That is still an option if your pet refuses to let you come near him with a toothbrush, or if brushing isn't appropriate for your pet.
And you'll be pleased to know that this new option by itself is nearly as effective as brushing...
However, I'm going to encourage you to give brushing a try, because as you'll soon see, you'll likely experience better and faster results if you add brushing. I know you want your pet to enjoy clean gums and teeth as quickly as possible.
Ideally you want to brush your pet's teeth every night, or at least several times a week.
The best time to establish a solid brushing routine is when your cat or dog is young, before the age of one. Get your pet comfortable with having their jaw, teeth, and gums touched from their earliest months.
Nearly any dog or cat, at any age, can learn to accept having their teeth brushed. Be sure to ease into it slowly, offer plenty of praise and reassurance, and be generous with healthy treats!
How to Brush Your Pet's Teeth... Even if You've
Never Done it Before
Brushing your pet's teeth doesn't need to be an insurmountable task. The key is to break the process down into steps and gradually work up to actual brushing.
Following these simple steps can make brushing easier and less stressful for you both:
- Spend at least a week getting your pet "ready" for brushing. Massage his lips with your finger in a circular motion once or twice a day.
- For the next week or so, move to his teeth and gums, massaging with your finger in a similar manner. Still no toothpaste or toothbrush yet...
- Next, dab a very small amount of pet-formulated toothpaste on his lips. Spend at least a few days getting him accustomed to the taste.
- Now introduce a piece of gauze and rub it against the teeth. After your pet accepts that, you can move on to a "finger brush," and finally a special pet toothbrush with soft bristles, but don't rush. Make small, circular motions on his teeth.
- Add a small amount of toothpaste to the gauze or brush. Focus on the back teeth and the outsides of your pet's teeth, as that's where they are dirtiest.
- Try working on a few teeth at a time. Gently massage your pet's gums with the gauze or brush. And don't forget the praise and rewards...
Congratulations! You've completed all 5 steps to helping your pet have a cleaner mouth.
The Most Challenging to Care For... And with a Greater Need?
Now that we've covered the essentials of good oral care, I realize the last step - brushing - can be the most challenging if you have a cat, a small breed dog, or simply a dog who refuses to let you near his mouth with your fingers, much less a toothbrush.
And ironically, it's often smaller animals with smaller mouths - some of those most challenging subjects - that may need cleaning the most.
Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to needing dental cleansing – Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, Shelties, Papillons, Pomeranians, and although far from small, Greyhounds.
The felines most prone are purebred Persians, Siamese, Abyssinians, Maine Coons, and Somalis.
And the risk of dirty teeth dramatically increases for older dogs and cats.
The solution I have found can potentially help cats and dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
The New Oral Care Products – Are They Safe?
Several new products - and even foods - claim to help clean your pet's teeth. They include specially treated kibble, treats, chews, oral sprays, oral gels, and even water additives.
But before you pick up a bag of one of these "oral care" formulas, here are a few facts you need to know...
To create many of these "dental care" kibble and treats, manufacturers coat the food with a man-made industrial polymer called sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP).
According to its Material Safety Data Sheet, SHMP can be hazardous to humans if swallowed. A study on rats found it negatively affected their kidneys, growth, bones, muscles, liver, and thyroid.
Just because a product may be labeled and advertised as "safe" or "all-natural," always look closely at the ingredients.
It's time to let you in on my secret weapon for fast, safe, and easy dental care results...
Introducing... Healthy Pets Dental Gel with Herbal Extracts
Together with a company in the U.S. that's been manufacturing quality herbal dental products for 10 years, we've created a proprietary formula for Mercola Healthy Pets.
Not available anywhere else, my Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs contains 8 plant extracts that can potentially:
- Help clean the teeth
- Freshen breath
- Help promote clean gums
As I promised earlier, now there's a way to get the upper hand on your pet's dental cleanliness without lifting a toothbrush, if you so choose!
My Formula Contains 8 Botanicals - Not Just 1 or 2 Like Some Other Products
Check out any "natural" or alternative dental spray or gel, and you're likely to see, at most, two main ingredients.
But my complete Dental Gel formula contains a total of 8 main ingredients that are:
- Plant-based and 100% natural
- Safe without potential adverse effects for both cats and dogs
- Effective at cleaning teeth, even without brushing
Let's take a closer look at what's inside Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs with Herbal Extracts...
Grapefruit Seed Extract - Derived from grapefruit seeds
Neem Oil - Pressed from the fruits and seeds of the evergreen Neem tree
- Supports gum cleanliness
- Supports clean gums
Thyme Oil - Derived from leafy herb thyme
Peppermint Oil - Extracted from peppermint leaves
For my Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs, I wanted to go the extra mile with two more essential oils, in addition to the original winning formulation...
- Tulsi Oil, or Holy Basil. Safe for pets to ingest, this renowned Ayurvedic herb freshens breath, promotes a clean mouth.
- Cardamom Oil helps promote clean gums and teeth, and freshens breath.
How to Get Maximum Benefits from Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs
The 8 main ingredients in my peppermint flavored Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs are designed to work together to help keep teeth clean.
And now I'm even more excited about our advanced formula with extra cleansing ingredients!
So how can you get maximum benefits from it for your pet?
Don't wait to see dirty teeth. Begin using my Dental Gel with Herbal Extracts on your pet as early as possible.
It's far easier and faster to help keep teeth clean in the first place than to clean them once they are dirty.
It's so easy to use. Just squeeze the recommended amount onto your fingertip. For a medium size dog, that's only a fourth of a teaspoon. For a cat, just an eighth of a teaspoon.
If your pet will allow you to open his mouth, simply smear the gel over his teeth and gums. If not, place the gel on his lips, paw, or muzzle, and he'll lick it off. The more he licks, the more it will mix with his saliva and coat his teeth and gums.
When smearing the gel on your pet's teeth, focus on the back molars first. Especially with cats, this is where most of the dirt accumulates. Move to the pre-molars, canines, and then the incisors.
It's Never Too Late to Get Started - Order Your Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs for Pets Today
As the saying goes... Today is the first day of the rest of your pet's life. And it's never too late to provide her with the dental care she deserves.
After all, if you won't do it for her, who will?
Even if your pet is advanced in age and has a less-than-clean mouth, know that some oral care is better than no oral care. And my Dental Gel makes it so easy to do.
Order your Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs with Herbal Extracts today and know you may be making a great decision for your pet.
Don't put off your pet's dental care one more day. Order now.
Important Note: If your pet is sensitive to essential oils, please consult your veterinarian prior to use/application.
Q: "How much Dental Gel should I give to my pet?"
To help clean very dirty teeth, apply 1 or 2 times daily after meals for the first 4 weeks. After that, apply 2 to 3 times per week (can be used daily), preferably before bedtime.
For fastest results, apply gel directly to teeth and gum line. Withhold food and water for at least 30 minutes after applying so the gel can mix with saliva and coat teeth and gums. Use the following amounts:
- Cats (2+ lbs.) 1/16 tsp.
- Toy Breed Dogs (up to 14 lbs.) 1/8 tsp.
- Small Breed Dogs (15-29 lbs.) 1/4 tsp.
- Medium Dogs (30-49 lbs.) 1/2 tsp.
- Large Dogs (50-79 lbs.) 3/4 tsp.
- Giant Breed Dogs (over 80 lbs.) 1 tsp.
These are general guidelines. You may want to adjust frequency of application to suit your pet's unique needs and factors such as age, breed, and cleanliness of teeth.
Q: "My pet won't allow me to apply the gel to the inside of her mouth. Does it need to be applied directly to the teeth and gums to be effective?"
A: The good news is – no! You can simply wipe the gel on the outside of your pet's lips, her upper muzzle near her whiskers, or even a cat's paw or front forearm and she will naturally want to lick it off. The more she licks, the better the gel will coat all of her teeth and gums.
For dogs, try offering a bit of peanut butter with the tooth gel squeezed on top.
Follow the directions above to get your pet comfortable with you touching her mouth. Now try applying the gel to your fingertip and work it through her mouth, coating the teeth and gums. Next, move to using a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger, and finally a pet finger brush to provide more mechanical abrasion.
Q: "Do I need to use a toothbrush with Dental Gel for Cats & Dogs to receive benefits?"
A: You will still receive benefits without using a toothbrush. With some geriatric pets with poor dental health, you may not be able to use a toothbrush due to the condition of their teeth and gums.
However, brushing can help speed up the cleaning of your dog's or cat's mouth. Use a finger brush, a soft toothbrush for pets, or a simple piece of gauze and rub along your pet's teeth and gums.
Q: "I haven't routinely brushed my middle-aged pet's teeth and they are quite dirty. Is it 'too little, too late' to start using the dental gel now?"
A: You're not alone when you ask this question! Many pet parents are in the same shoes... The important point here is awareness of the issue and positive action to start cleaning now. Granted, my Dental Gel may not give your pet perfectly clean teeth, but you will be helping to keep them cleaner than they would be without use of the Dental Gel.